Children, before the invention of the Internet there was a problem that we didn’t know was a problem: being able to learn who That Guy In That Movie was instantly, and trying to figure out The Lady From The Show With The People was, when a name and a face just wasn’t coming to mind. Thankfully, in these dark ages there was a vanity press published directory of sorts called a Who’s Who In [Hollywood/Sports/Novelists/etc.] where the average person could look up a famous name and connect that name to a photo and a paragraph of biography. Not particularly an iconoclastic end-all reference resource, as often the people in it actually paid a fee and submitted their own biography to be included as a measure to keep themselves relevant, it was the kind of thing considered casual coffee table reading. While not the only publisher of the Who’s Who style of entertainment guide, Reese Publishing was one such imprint that published this week’s magazine, Who’s Who In The Teen World.
I can’t find much on Reese besides a 1980 court summary in which Reese Publishing lost the fight to sue a different magazine for trying to publish under a name similar to theirs (a knuckle-bloodying brawl over whoever had the rights to use Video Buyer’s Guide, apparently, led to the courts maintaining that nobody had the right to trademark the word “video”). Reese published a few of these Who’s Who In The Teen World issues, but it seems to have been more of a special thing that would show up annually in supermarket newsstands rather than a regularly recurring thing.
This feels like a “tag yourself” meme waiting to happen. It seems that all the Jacksons are regarding you with wary suspicion. Are you grimacing with barely concealed lip-curling disgust, like Donny? Are you just trying to survive the next hour until lunch, like David? Are you not even trying to hide how fed up you are anymore, like Danny? Or have you been struck by the revelation that you’ve been teen idol assembly lined into looking indistinguishable for every other guy with your haircut?
This week we’re going a little heavier on the ads, because a lot of the text itself isn’t terribly interesting and reads like what it is, which is a who’s-who of popular people in 1972. It’s certainly not due in part to me flipping through this quickly and not realizing that I didn’t take enough pictures, nosiree.
In this edition of Teen Pyramid Schemes For Fun And Exploitation, check out that groovy sleeping bag! And the donut radio! And the poodle radio that looks like it has a screaming human face! (it’s actually really cute)
I worry that children of the future will think that, going from the media of the 2010s, everyone wore pastel unicorn wigs on a daily basis, because going from how many magazines from the 70s featured these elaborate wig ads you’d think that absolutely nobody rocked their own hair.
I’m picturing a little girl sending in $12.99 of her very hard earned babysitting money with a request for a light frosted “gypsy” wig, then settling down in her bed with dreams of the day it would arrive in the mail, and she would start her new life as a New More Beautiful Lovely Woman.
Overcome with rage at the thought of Ricky asking Susie Olive to the homecoming dance, Karen flung the tankard across the room, where it bounced off the glossy poster of Desi Arnaz Jr.’s gentle smile with an unsatisfying bonk and fell to the floor. She had bought it with $4.98 saved from months of babysitting and had it engraved with a K and an R and a heart enclosing the date 8/20/71, the first day of eighth grade. The vessel that they would have sipped champagne from at their wedding would now only overflow with tears. Karen vowed that she would never toast to love again. Truly, what once was a loving cup had become…a hating cup.
“Why do you think you’re qualified for this position?”
“My horoscope says I’m a Real Rock of Gibralta.”
The magazine doesn’t give any suggestions for what your favorite star’s horoscope may actually be, because I guess it’s banking on you being a big enough fan to know when Jackie Jackson’s birthday is (he’s a Taurus).
David Patches, the forgotten 70s teen idol!
This is what most of the actual magazine content is made up of, teasing a cool teen idol on every few pages that are otherwise padded out with people that you probably were already well aware of in 1972, like that hunky hunka heartthrob Raymond Burr.
Also: hey, Papa Thanos.
I just…I’m so sorry, Mike Lookinland. I’m sure there were better pictures of you around. Or maybe you yourself insisted on your agent submitting this one, I don’t know. But thank you for the laugh.
Buckwheat didn’t seem to get very far, so here’s one for you hipsters:
I’m not sure when they broke up, but nowadays they seem to be mostly associated with Michael Smotherman playing for Captain Beefheart later in the 70s.
It’s weird that they go on about Mick Jagger being Satan when he’s portrayed next to George Harrison looking remarkably evocative of Charles Manson. I guess whoever wrote this was so terrified of Mick’s lingering satanic influence that they didn’t even bother to fact check, because Mick and Bianca only have a daughter together.
Shout out to my mom for her lifelong crush on Cat Stevens. I see it now.
If you’re trying to connect Stories to a song, they did that LOUIE LOUIE LOUIE LOUAAAAH song.
Just take it all in.
Mark Lester gave up acting in his early 20s and is now an osteopath. Good for him!
There were a bunch of these pinups interspersed through the issue, but Desi Arnaz, Jr.’s was by far the dreamiest.
I like that they don’t tell you how many you actually get per order.
“How many of each set of eight do I get?”
“But I wanted to make sure I have enough to share with all my friends–”
So deliciously backhanded! What did Sally Field do to piss you off, magazine?
JOIN THE LEADER NOW
THE ELECTRIC CAN OPENER IS AS GOOD AS YOURS IN ONLY SEVEN BOXES
You know, if only there had been some super groovy stationary offered in those Christmas Card scam clubs, they could have paired up for out of sight synergy for writing your desperate creepy stalker letters to Maureen McCormick!
I don’t know if you could talk a teenager into a diet these days by telling them that with this “plan” they can eat all the goulash they want and not gain weight. Also, take it from this 70 year old woman – the Slim-Pak pills have given her the desire to live! Jesus Christ!
DO YOUR PART TO SAVE THE BEATLES FROM OBSCURITY!
…can we just stop for a second and think about what you would actually be enduring if a capful of bubble bath made fat come OUT OF YOUR PORES and INTO THE BATH WATER and AAAGHHHH WHAT CRONENBERGIAN BODY HORROR NIGHTMARE IS THIS just send in only $20.00 for the family size now now now!
I’m done with the diet ads. I’m here for the stick on beard for “romance” ad.
Yes, because acrylic nails are certainly something you should do on yourself from something you’ve learned via a teen magazine ad, and not something that people put themselves through beauty school to learn.
Mrs. Sea-Monkey is remarkably sexy.
Drag queen name up for grabs: GLAMOROUS DYNELLE
“The next time you hear ‘I Think I Love You’, close your eyes and think of David naked singing it just for you!”
Daddy, why didn’t you fight the war against pollution?
Well honey, me and my generation were too busy causing unnecessary wars, massive inflation in college tuitions, and refusing to retire from the workforce to actually give a hoot about pollution!
“It’s me, David Patches! Contrary to popular belief, I like wearing clothes!”
I love that this design hasn’t changed in 50 years. According to Maybelline Story, the pink and chartreuse colors of the Great Lash tube was inspired by the designs of Lily Pulitzer, the fashion designer who created the colorful shift dresses of the 60s that Jackie O made iconic. Now you know!
Thank you for reading! And thanks to my co-worker for loaning me this so that I could share it with all of you. Next week: was WWII worth it?
Fortune, June 1948!